Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Writer Wednesday: Editing Mule Backwards

So as I approach my final days before the release of Glazier it has not been without turmoil. Made it through the content edit now on to the copy/line edits. It seems this is the hardest part. However, this will be the only novel I expect to be this hard since my writing had evolved tremendously since Glazier's initial draft.

When editing I tend to find myself facing several issues with a novel I've been intimate with four years now. For the following reasons...

  • I'm too close to the novel. I know every intimate detail of what it's supposed to sound like and all the background for the characters motivations. This keeps me from seeing it objectively. 
  • When I read the novel from the beginning I know what I want it to sound like. The flow and voice is my own creation therefore I fall into rhythum with it. 
  • I'm emotionally invested in this particular novel. It was my first.
So wtih all that in mind... how do I edit this baby?

  • I read it from the last chapter on. So in other words backwards. While I know what's going on I still am able to not get caught up with the flow because now I'm swimming upstream.
  • Read it out loud. With the combination of starting from the end and reading out loud I am able to better see any discrepancies in flow and grammar. (well the grammar part I ain't great at.)
  • Finally there's an editor for that. You have a content and line editor that goes through with new eyes and helps correct the mistakes you can't see.
So how do you deal with edits especially those last minute one when you feel the release clock ticking away?


  1. With a lot of deep breaths and chocolate.

  2. I just got my first edits for my book, and I was so scared to open them. I don't know what I thought would be in them, but I was scared nonetheless. But everything she said makes sense. I guess I'm just excited, but I really do see where my novel can be stronger. Good luck with the rest of your edits and thanks for the tips!

  3. I'm in the very same boat Bri, but I have two girlfriends one who helps with commas and one who does a bang up job with all the pre edit stuff so that helps me cut down on what is left for me to do. I had to get on my knees and beg my BFF for comma help - she laughed and said, I've been begging to help I'm still waiting on my edits for my JUNER and I will stare at the email before opening and get chocolate as Kate said!

  4. @ Kay so you think I shouldn't be dieting right now?

    @Liz I know what you mean Liz. My first time was hard. But knowing that even the most successful author gets edited helps.

    @ Monique Those are good friends to have. Congrats on everything

  5. Reading aloud is a good way to find mistakes. You can buy some inexpensive programs that will read aloud from your computer screen.

  6. I really like the idea of doing it from the end to the begining. I will have to try it that way.

  7. To be totally honest? I deal with it by pretending I understand what the heck is going on. It's all new to me...!

    I hope the rest of the editing goes smoothly for you!

  8. i hear you loud and clear, bri !!! i don't like edits. i wrote my book over a long period of time and it was part of my life, I thought my characters, I dreamed my characters and cried and laughed with them and when i finished it with great content and pride i moved on to the next baby. going back is hard .... so i'm not looking forward to astraea editor knocking at my door anytime soon .. :-( but will do my best to behave :-)

  9. Well, I know you are talking about *content* editing, but as far as *mechanics* editing, doing it from the back (reading the last sentence first) works really well. If you read it the typical way, you know what it is supposed to say so that is what you read. But reading it from the back takes that away. I do this whenever I have to edit my own work.

  10. Tough love. Keep a previous file and then just tear it apart one line at a time. If in doubt hit delete and don't look back until you hit the end of the piece.

  11. Thanks for sharing all the experiences, feeling or lack of experience. It helps not only me but the other readers too.